Monday, December 22, 2008

Gassner Custom Soaps

If I keep winning, I may have to buy a lottery ticket. Three wins in three weeks? I feel so blessed!! (I'll be sharing my other wins as soon as they arrive.)

One day when I was playing *LeapBlog, more on that later, I found Amber at Such is Life who directed me to Elizabeth at Gassner Custom Soaps who was having a drawing back on November 25.

Friday's mail brought me my prize and oh what a prize it was. Let me just share the box and its contents in a picture story and then I'll tell you what I really think about the products.

Both John and I have been using the soaps for a few days now. What I noticed immediately was that my hands are not so dry and I am not using as much lotion. This coffee soap for the kitchen is wonderful...not a heavy, perfumed soap, but one that cuts odors on the hands while soothing them. It's hard to describe. I want to say creamy and ultra smooth so guess that I will. :D Doesn't it look good enough to eat? And I love the lip soothing and emollient. Wonderful stuff!

Now I've been visiting the Gassner web site via the link I have on my sidebar and I see that Elizabeth makes scents for men. Hmmm, I'm just wondering if it'd be possible for her to come up with my beloved's favorite scent. (Just follow the color code.) What do you think? ;>

Elizabeth, thank you so much. I'll be enjoying these gifts for a long time to come!

Amber, thank you, too!!

*LeapBlog...a game where one leaps off to a blog listed on her own sidebar and then jumps to a blog unknown to her continuing for 10x. Then, on that tenth blog, the blogger must find her own blog listed in that tenth blog's sidebar in order to win. Winning isn't everything! I rarely win LeapBlog in this way, but I do find a lot of new and wonderful blogs.

Happy Monday, Dear Ones!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Skidding In...

Some Christmas cards have more meaning than others for they share the story of Christmas. Because I know how weary some of us have become, including myself, I want to share one card's message this morning.

We need a song to sing—
A message of hope and cheer
We need a LOVE that
Transcends time and space
Our hearts seek the knowledge
That amidst all the change
And the clatter of life
There is SOMEONE Who cares.
Jesus is God's
Deliverance given to us
He is the King of Kings
And the Lord of Lords
He is Immanuel, God with us.
He is God's Message of Love
With the angels and shepherds
And all God's children we sing,
"Jesus is Born. JOY to the world."

For all the stresses of life...all the losses of life...all the heartaches...all the pains...all the busyness...all the depression...all the emptiness...all the anger...all the fear...all the worry...all the all of these, He came. We need to be rescued. It's just that simple.

Today and the remainder of this week, I am building arbitrary time into my day. I am taking a Jesus break every few hours to spend time reading the Word, inspirational messages, and just pray. I think my day will go better.

Two suggestions for you today: Please consider joining Miss Sandy at Quill Cottage for today's installment of Advent observances and join for Santa Is Sooo Busy!!!! Edited to Add: Have just been to A Scrapbook of Inspiration where Karen shares a term new to me and gives us an example. It blessed me.

So, if you find yourself "skidding in" today (as am I), let us take the time to "cozy down" and refocus on the most important thing of all...our relationship with the One who was willing to Come just for us!

Image: From my personal Christmas card collection

May the One who cares so completely for you bless your Christmas with joy...your home with peace...and your lives with love.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread Student

(Edited to Add: Scroll Down to see the completed project! )

That's me! Thanks to Suzanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife who's been doing a great tutorial all week. So in spite of not having one gift wrapped, shopping finished, house cleaned, sewing done, nor visiting a soul, I've been making a gingerbread house. :D

Okay, if you find yourself snowbound, give this a whirl. It's been a lot of fun and the house smells soooooo goooood.

A wonderful Friday to you all!

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Adding more photos of the progress made. You'll be able to watch this thing go up through the day. But I am waiting until the carpenter comes home for lunch before I carry on any further. LOL!

I'm just trying to scare Suzanne with this one...

Saturday Morning Update! (It is still morning isn't it?)

You are all soooo patient. Thanks for visiting. Please note how restrained Suzanne is in her use of photographs. I, on the other hand, am just being boastful. This is my first Gingerbread House and, by golly, you're gonna see it in all of its leaning, Alpine glory.

First test of the marriage...can it stand the strain of creating a Gingerbread House? Oh yes! With flying colors. First of all, The Carpenter didn't care for the dimensions of that chimney elves or no elves! That meant some serious whittling.

The Gingerbread House had to have a window box reminiscent of my Haven's.

Suzanne, thank you so much! This has been a life long dream of mine. No kidding. You're an excellent teacher and I hope that lots of folks will join you in Gingerbread Land.

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. I'm going to go find a place to collapse. :D

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Playlists

Image: My Christmas window box with tips and winterberries
Yes, we received our promised snow and so spent the day deep in projects...journals, aprons, and gingerbread houses. (Maybe I'll show you or maybe I'll just allow you to exercise your imagination. ;>) A playlist was on throughout the day so allow me to share those that I've been especially enjoying.

Let's start with these four and in no particular order:

Restyled Home Playlist

Catherine Holman Folk Art Playlist
Coffee Tea Books and Me Playlist
Edie Marie's Attic Playlist

(Now that Playlist is no more, these links no longer work.)

*Catherine's may require a visit directly to her blog (never a bad thing) where you can pop out the player from her sidebar. It's a lovely list! Sometimes the link works; other times not. All other links will take you to the player where all you have to do is click the play arrow in the center of the newly opened screen. Then minimize and off you go!

This should keep you in Christmas music through the day. Tomorrow, we may discuss the playlist to listen to when a break from Christmas music would be nice. (I just rarely need a break from Christmas music.)

A joyous Thursday to you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All is Calm; All is Bright; Not!

One might get the idea from taking the Holiday Tours in Blogland that all is calm, all is bright, all the time. Not so! Oh so definitely not so!

Take, for example, my moment with the oil lamp, which you can plainly see glowing all pretty above in my header. (Thanks, by the way, to those who've commented on it. Just one of those chance shots that looked so good that I couldn't resist.) Anyway, I was home alone wanting to take a cozy shot of the lamp for my holiday home tour when, all of a sudden, it flared up and the fire went straight down into the bowl of the lamp and lit all the oil on fire. Very pretty. Very scary. Only my quick wit prevented me from pitching it through the bay window. Instead, I rushed it out the door.

Later that same afternoon, John came home and I told him about it. He gave me that little hmmmm that he does and I asked him to light it. (No, you're right, no one has ever accused me of being exceptionally brilliant.) So he did and sure enough! The fire went right down the wick and started the whole bowl ablaze again. Wow! Can John ever move fast when he must! After a bit, he suggested that I take this picture of the bowl filled with smoke; wish it could've been a few moments earlier.

Then, if such a thing even be possible, this happened.

You've heard of time standing still? Well what can one say about time crashing? (Actually, if it would crash for just about two more weeks I might get everything done.)

And take yesterday afternoon when I decided to make Brenda's M&M Pretzel Candies. She clearly states in the recipe that peanut M&Ms won't work. What do I have? You guessed it. She clearly says to place the pretzel on waxed or parchment paper. What do I do? You guessed it.

Still tasty, though! I also made the Mini-Turtles that Angie suggested in the comments on this recipe post. Oh boy howdy are they ever yummy little things! Don't worry about the "mini" bit and Rolos. Regular-sized ones work.

Today is supposed to be snowy. (I wrote this last night. Gotta be careful of saying things like this lately. I get so confused.) Leaving you with some Christmasy shots I took of John plowing the yard.

Now I'm just wondering if I have the courage to attempt making a gingerbread house for the very first time from scratch. I've made the dough and I'm ready to go. Check out the button on my sidebar to visit Suzanne's third tutorial.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Dear Ones, and remember to follow directions!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've Lost My Mommy

It was one of those days.

A day when we both had a lot to get accomplished, but more importantly, a day to spend together...sort of.

It began with my mother's doctor's appointment. All things these days begin with an appointment it seems.

Then we made a bee line for breakfast as my mom had been fasting in order to have bloodwork done. We had the big ol' Sizzlin' Skillet breakfast at Denny's, which took us sailing right through the day until the mandatory stop at Tim Horton's on the way home.

Other than that, it was a shop until you drop kind of day. We were lugging such a large number of heavy bags by the time we arrived at Bath and Body Works that I offered to take it all back to the car, repark the car, and meet Mother at the far end of the mall in the toddler department at J.C. Penney. Sigh. One might think that that would have been an easy assignment.

Half an hour of shopping for the grands later and with purchases piling high, still no mother. So I checked out and went looking.

I followed every white-haired lady I saw; I followed every lady wearing a fleecy jacket; I followed every lady with that certain limp. I grew more and more anxious.
Perhaps I've been reading too much Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman...

My internal dialog cranked up and I imagined myself before a mall security officer requesting an all points bulletin. I retraced my many steps thinking "what would Mother do?" I knew what I would've done...taken a nap on one of the many benches strategically placed at exits. One poor fellow seated on one of said benches asked if I'd lost anyone — wonder what gave it away. I tried to grin, "Yes, I've lost my mommy." At least, he got a chuckle out of it.

After an additional 45 minutes, I found her. Right there rummaging through men's gloves in the men's department. Does that sound anything like the toddler department? Hmmmmm?

Quickly, I assessed my emotional meter and decided to clarify rather than confront. "Mother," says I, "How was I supposed to know to find you here?"

She looked up at me with a warm smile, her glasses perched precariously on the tip of her nose and said, "Hello, Dear, I've been shopping in women's lingerie."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Post

(Imagine mist wrapped mountains covered with snow.)

I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. ~Isaiah 44:22

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Card

Someone thinks I need a break. Ahhhh... God love'im. So I'm taking one for today. Have a relaxing weekend, Dear Ones!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Home Sweet Home Holiday Blog Party

Today I'm participating in the Home Sweet Home Holiday Blog Party sponsored by Whispering Poppies (long gone).

A few posts ago, I did something quite similar, but I have even more to share so please bear with me. I am not a trendy gal. My Christmas colors remain silver and gold, red and green. Hope that you enjoy my mostly pictures post.

Yesterday, I received the sweetest package from Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread (private blog). I ordered a doll that she made and put on her Etsy shop. The doll's name is Pearl; I think because of the vintage pearl button on her sweet little dress. Here's the picture story!

All the items circled in red are the extra gifts that Kathy sent to us. John says he has dibs on the maple Santa. That's fine...I have dibs on the candy cane!

I'm not sure if my grandmother will be receiving Pearl or not. I like Pearl mighty fine myself. Thanks so much, Kathy! (Did you see my repurposing of your beautiful ribbon?)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Lights and The Maestro

We've been out for the last two nights. Last night was shopping; the night before was for enjoying Christmas lights. We gathered up my mother and grandmother and off we set. Two and a half hours later, filled with Tim Horton's English Toffee Cappuccinos and Canadian Maple donuts, we were home again.

In our corner, I'd say that only one in ten homes has any lights on display. One can not complain about this when one has no lights on her own home. The photo above is the best of the lot.

My little grand was busy yesterday so that means that I was busy as well. Much too busy to follow him about with a camera. However, once he and his constant companion Ted E. Bear turned their attention to piano playing, I was able to capture these shots. You can see why we think he's going to be a natural even if he's not yet two. ;>

A wicked good Thursday to you all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Need Decorating Inspiration?

Need Christmas decorating inspiration? Fast? Take a few hours, more if you can spare it, and go blog hopping. Leap right off from here as I have some of the finest blogs listed ever!

I'm going to show you what a morning of copying did for me. If you click on the photos, you'll see just whom I am copying, but I'll also link to each of my inspirations at the bottom of this post. Perhaps this could be a little quiz. I LOVE quizzes. See if you can figure out where I found each idea. Okay, I digress.

This is one I copied from a Christmas Home Tour I took a few years ago. Finally remembered it! I love the aroma of the evergreen as the tree is a big old fake. These are on each window throughout the house.

I'm off on Nonni duty today. This time I have the little one and he's coming here to play with me and keep me company while I bake cookies.

Hope you have a fun day, too!

**Thanks to the following bloggers: Melissa, Suzanne, Mary, and Catherine!